2/28/2006 09:47:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Tbogg links to a typically giggle-inducing Jason Apuzzo blog post, which inevitably digresses into discussions of "Star Wars" and "Cinderella Man." And "Cinderella Man" revisionism is pretty easy to come by. Here's Myrna Blyth complaining about its Academy dissage.
"Cinderella Man" didn’t make much money, and I suppose it’s considered a flop. But none of the other movies nominated for the Oscar have made much money, and everyone in Hollywood seems to be congratulating the producers and directors for making them.
Let's do this quickly.
Cost: $14 million
Gross: $75.6 million
Cost: $88 million
Gross: $61.7 million
The "gay cowboy movie" starring the guy from "A Knight's Tale" and the guy from "Jarhead" has been seen and embraced by more Americans than the boxing movie starring two Oscar winners (Crowe and Zellweger). This "Hollywood is thumbing its big Jewey nose at middle America" guff has got to stop.|W|P|114118184659288585|W|P|PWNEDback Mountain|W|P|3/01/2006 12:37:00 AM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|I wonder how many people besides Apuzzo have been smacked down by both TBogg and Jonah Goldberg (see here, here, here and here).3/01/2006 06:24:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous|W|P|Hmm...But the Best Picture nominees (and wannabe nominees that were released in the hype-zone before the noms were out)benefited from a big boost from being considered in the running. Cinderella Man was released too early for that. The Gay Cowpoke flick wouldn't have made half of its still rather average Box Office if it had come out (pardon the pun) in Cinderella Man's slot back in June. I've read countless blogs, forums etc where people say they are trying to see some of the BP nominees before Oscar Night. So it does make a big difference. Considering the daft time CM was put out into theatres I think it did quite well. Given that it had no Oscar/Sag/Globe bandwagon to ride on and none. Having said that it has done really well on DVD....and that is probably going to be the future for films that are made for an older target audience. Its high time that the figures started to take that more into account. In a sense the accepted statistics are lagging behind what is happening in the market-place. Furthermore....be very wary of the figures quoted as the cost of making a movie. There are Lies, damned lies, and Production costs.3/01/2006 11:02:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Anonymous - You make an interesting argument, but "Cinderella Man" has one of the most wide-open summers in memory to make its money, and it didn't. "Saving Private Ryan," a 3-hour drama, was released in July 1998 and made $217 million off a $70 million budget. "The Notebook," a traditional romance movie, was released in June 2004 and made $81 million off a $29 million budget. Even the poorly-reviewed "The Terminal" made more money than "Cinderella Man" ($78 million) after its June 2004 release. My point is that it was a good-not-great drama that was received tepidly by audiences, and that conservative critics who use it as an example of "what Hollywood is ignoring at the Oscars" should remember that Joe Ticket-buyer ignored it first.
Oh, and your statement that "Brokeback" "wouldn't have made half" of its gross without the Oscar noms is untrue. It made $52 million before the nominations were announced and only $24 million since. BM was a cultural phenomenon before the Oscar race. And I think there's little question that "Brokeback," even if it loses the Oscar in an upset, is going to remain a cultural touchstone. "Cinderella Man" is just another boxing movie.
Side note: I'm not sure what the "culture war" crowd doesn't recognize "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" more often. It was a sleeper hit with strong Christian themes and messages that made more money than "Cinderella Man" and almost as much as "Brokeback."3/05/2006 12:16:00 PM|W|P|Diana|W|P|"BM was a cultural phenomenon before the Oscar race. And I think there's little question that "Brokeback," even if it loses the Oscar in an upset, is going to remain a cultural touchstone."
True. Why do you think that is?
I read the story; didn't see the movie. But it's pretty obvious that BM is more than just a chick flick, and I'd be interested to hear some intelligent commentary on What It All Means.3/06/2006 01:33:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Diana - It's late, so I may not be indulgent with the intelligent commentary, but in short ...
"Brokeback Mountain" is the first mainstream movie wherein gay characters are not either flamers, psychopaths, or dying of AIDS. (Here's a comprehensive list.) It's also the first, to my knowledge, to put two marketable, young male actors in a gay sex scene. This stuff was unthinkable 20, even 10 years ago. While it lost the Oscar, it was an $80 million hit at the box office. It is a watershed moment for Hollywood and gay themes.
All that aside, I think it is an incredibly powerful meditation on isolation and unwilling self-denial. There have been movies along these lines before, most notably David Lean's "Brief Encounter." But "Brokeback Mountain" is the movie that everybody's going to think of from now on when people discuss secret, especially closeted, love affairs. And for a long while it's going to be the lodestone for gay jokes. (Look at all the political cartoonists who make "Brokeback" jokes.)2/27/2006 11:08:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|At the end of a grueling week I visited Delaware to suit up for CJ Stunkard's bachelor party. This is the third bachelor party I've been to, and the third one sans strippers. Not for us. For us, there was New York Comic Con.
I'm a desperately lazy man, so I'm going to repost my description of Comic Con from a recent IM dialogue.
DaveWeigel81: OK... well, people start lining up at 2 am for tickets to signings and stuff, which start getting handed out at 8:30. My friends and I got in line at 8, we get through the line at 10:30. Not bad so far.
DaveWeigel81: The main convention hall has artists, dealers and exhibitors all in there, in 5 lines of booths. By noon, there is still a line to get in. Then the fire marshall arrives and says they need to kick out 500 people or will be shut down for violating the code.
DaveWeigel81: So they kick out like 500 people, all of whom paid their $25. And they cordon off all other enterences to the hall.
DaveWeigel81: At 1 pm, Kevin Smith speaks in the event hall (I saw him), he finishes at 3, and starts walking to the main hall to sit at his table in the artists' alley. But organizers realize this won't work so they send him to another room without telling anyone.
DaveWeigel81: So a mob scene forms at the View Askew booth, and eventually the VA guys hand out 100 tickets for people to enter the room KS is in and get signatures.
DaveWeigel81: He HAD been booked for unlimited signatures from 3-6. But oh well.
DaveWeigel81: That was the worst of it.
DaveWeigel81: Luckily I was outside meeting a friend from 11-1, and didn't enter the main hall til 4, when it was emptying out.
All that said, it was actually a pretty enjoyable experience. Once I got into the hall I met the incredible Evan Dorkin, who signed one of his sketches for me, and Alex Robinson, who signed a copy of "Box Office Poison." Kevin Smith is as funny in person as I'd ever heard. I'm not much of a comics geek anymore, but with some poking around I found artists and comics that I had loved for years (oh, and the hardcover collection of Jaime Hernandez's "Love and Rockets" stories for 50% off).
I didn't take too many pictures - it was just too damn hectic. But, here's a picture of Dean entering the main hall.
And here's one of all of us outside the Javits Center.
|W|P|114110458505715540|W|P|Weekender|W|P|2/24/2006 01:06:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|New review up at Popmatters, of DC band The Sounds of Kaleidoscope.
A related issue: If the Decemberists ever make a double album, they should call the first disc "Alas" and the second disc "Alack."|W|P|114076124480678447|W|P|Ooh, pretty colors|W|P|2/24/2006 10:17:00 AM|W|P|Tim|W|P|Funniest. Decemberists joke. Ever.2/23/2006 01:14:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|If I was a wingnutty congressman, I do believe I'd introduce a bill that would privatize the Secret Service and open the Presidential bodyguard business up to foreign bidders. But I'm not a wingnutty congressman.
That's all for now. Oy. Not a great week.|W|P|114067543302627581|W|P|The shipping news|W|P|2/20/2006 11:26:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Not much going on. Read Tim's reviews. (I saw "Tristam Shandy" and it rules.)|W|P|114049603735434699|W|P|Still here|W|P|2/16/2006 02:18:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Oh, my sides. Wendy's Training Video, circa 1980-something.
|W|P|114007437852946844|W|P|You gotta salt the meat to make the taste complete|W|P|2/17/2006 01:04:00 PM|W|P|Mark|W|P|This is the best thing I've seen all year.2/15/2006 04:31:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|2004 version:
Strike that. We can totally take the word of a madman.
I figure some slope-browed bloggers and radio hosts are getting hot and bothered about these 1990s Saddam quotes. They would be advised to listen to notorious anti-war activist Stephen Hayes:
A hypothetical: If the tapes are in fact authentic, imagine that they include audio of Saddam Hussein talking about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Does this mean that Iraq actually had these weapons Saddam thought he had? Not necessarily. One of the leading theories about Iraqi WMD holds that Iraqi scientists misled Saddam about his WMD capability. These scientists, according to this theory, lied to their superiors for fear of reprisals if their lack of progress on WMD development was discovered. That Saddam believed he had these proscribed weapons is not proof that he did.
Why does Stephen Hayes hate freedom/America?|W|P|114003913652009533|W|P|Saddam, then and now|W|P|2/14/2006 11:55:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|That Heath Ledger fella can't ski at all.|W|P|113997979936280022|W|P|Olympic thoughts|W|P|2/13/2006 11:58:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Not much doin' today. Got a new metal review up at Popmatters, though.|W|P|113989321395996543|W|P|Case of the Mondays|W|P|2/10/2006 10:47:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|
by Norman Spinrad, 1988
A few months back I read Spinrad's infamous Hitler novel, "The Iron Dream" (that is, a sci-fi novel "written" by an alternate universe's Adolf Hitler), enjoyed it greatly, and decided to seek out the rest of his stuff. This collection of four short stories was the first thing I finished, and I must say I'm not impressed. The stories ...
- "Street Meat" is a 38-pager about a future New York where the rich have walled themselves off and the armies of the homeless own the streets and kill rats for food. A very 80s concept ruined by a mangy dialect Spinrad gives the homeless characters - sort of a cross between Nadsat and jive. Example: "I'm the plushie tushie, primed for prole place plunder. Slumming for sleazo sex, son, see the scene?" You see? It doesn't work.
- "The Lost Continent," 48 pages, is the best story here. In the late 22nd century, the United States is a dessicated husk of a country, brought low a century earlier by war and pollution, and Africa is the center of the World. Narration swings between an American tour guide and one of his African clients as they get a tour of the historic New York tri-state area. The scenes inn which they explore the subways where thousands of New Yorkers took their generators and vending machines at the end of the last crisis are harrowing. In a few generations, deprived of sunlight, breathing recirculated air and eating rotten food, the subway people have devolved into short, retarded subhumans. Definitely one of the most 70s stories you'll ever read.
- "World War Last," 73 pages, is a super-broad satire wherein the two aging empires of America and the USSR are brought low by an Arab Sheik with nukes. Sort of funny, but "Dr. Strangelove" did it better.
- "La Vie Continue," 92 pages, is definitely the craziest thing here. A future version of Norman Spinrad makes his living in France, having been exiled by the fascistic American government years before. He cuts a deal with the KGB to fund an underground newspaper, then another deal to adapt one of his novels into an American movie with a Russian rock idol as the star. It's all quite insane.
I'm still enamored with Spinrad's prose style - sort of a pulpy, Hollywood version of Philip K. Dick crossed with Elmore Leonard - but I hope his other efforts have stronger plots.|W|P|113963963758441566|W|P|Book #5|W|P|2/09/2006 03:19:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Oh, man. Please, nobody dangle any bright, shiny objects in front of Mort Kondracke. He'd be dazzled for weeks.|W|P|113951648322630029|W|P|Me, edit a video tape? That's unpossible!|W|P|2/09/2006 12:28:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|For feces and giggles, I just participated in a listmaking exercise with an album-trading group I belong to. We're compiling the "best albums of the 1980s." Here was my list.
1.) Tommy Keene – Songs From the Film (1986)
One of the most obscure albums here. A 12-song slab of guitar pop from Washington DC's most talented, screwed-over musical son (Geffen killed his "commercial" album Based on Happy Times in its crib, and it's been unavailable ever since).
2.) Ramones – End of the Century (1980)
The single greatest Ramones album, produced by Phil Spector. Not many fans agree with me.
3.) The Go-Betweens – 16 Lovers Lane (1988)
Actually, most critics rate this one highly. Ten songs, split evenly between bandleaders Grant McClennan and Robert Forster, who were in different stages of relationships. McClennan was dating the band's beautiful multi-instrumentalist Amanda Brown, and his songs are happy. Forster was in the death throes of something with drummer Lindy Morrison, and ... guess.
4.) King Crimson – Discipline (1981)
The shapeshifting art rock album by the 1980s incarnation of KC, including probably the most talented progressive rock ensemble ever. Robert Fripp on guitars, Adrian Belew on guitars and vocals, Bill Bruford on drums, Tony Levin on bass.
5.) The Cure – The Head on the Door (1985)
Robert Smith's breakthrough pop album - the last time he cut a record without oodles of filler.
6.) Husker Du – Warehouse: Songs and Stories (1987)
The two-disc swan song of the Minneapolis hardcore band turned poppy troubadors. You can hear the heroin.
7.) Devo – Freedom of Choice (1980)
Their flawless breakthrough album
8.) Genesis – Abacab (1981)
Same as above, only with a horn section and Phil Collins.
9.) Eric B and Rakim – Follow the Leader(1988)
The greatest MC of all time with his greatest samples and hooks.
10.) Camper Van Beethoven – Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart (1988)
Best album by the Northern California college rock wizards.
11.) Lou Reed – The Blue Mask (1982)
Reed's darkest, finest album with his best band (including Robert Quine) and most literal, to-the-bone lyrics.
12.) Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
No explanation necessary.
13.) Game Theory – Real Nighttime (1985)
Scott Miller's Joycean power-pop opus. This is his "Portrait of the Artist of a Young Man" - Lolita Nation is his "Finnegans Wake".
14.) ‘Til Tuesday – Everything’s Different Now (1987)
Aimee Mann's collaboration with Jules Shear, and the best work either of them ever did.
15.) Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden (1980)
The metal classic that launched a thousand 20-foot skeleton stage props.
16.) Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
A 42-song, 60-minute head trip.
17.) The Smiths – The Queen is Dead (1985)
No explanation needed.
18.) Captain Beefheart – Ice Cream for Crow (1982)
A scary man's scary swan song.
19.) Prince - Purple Rain (1984)
Oh, you know why.
20.) Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man (1987)
Hilariously produced comeback by the aging anti-crooner.
21.) Bad Brains - I Against I (1986)
You got your metal in my reggae! You got your reggae in my metal! And now it's all fallen into a vat of punk!
22.) Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – Rattlesnakes (1984)
British power-pop at its apex.
23.) R.E.M. – Murmur (1982)
24.) Japan - Tin Drum (1982)
David Sylvian's tribute to Asia and pretentiousness. And keyboards.
25.) Robyn Hitchcock – Element of Light (1986)
Best album by the Syd Barrett who didn't go nuts.|W|P|113946295624639298|W|P|Ooh, look how indie he is|W|P|2/08/2006 12:44:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I don't have a lot to say about this, other than Kate O'Beirne looks like Sarah Chalke aged 30 years in brine and possessed by demons from hell.|W|P|113942076954393808|W|P|Funeral crashers|W|P|2/09/2006 12:45:00 AM|W|P|Ellen|W|P|That's an insult to both Sarah Chalke and demons from the netherworld.2/08/2006 12:24:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Oh, the things I find when I google myself.
By the by, I was googling myself and my old college paper because Northwestern's notorious Holocaust denier, Arthur Butz, is in the news.
McCormick Prof. Arthur Butz recently backed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in comments published by several Iranian news agencies. Calling the Holocaust a myth, Ahmadinejad said Israel should no longer exist as a country. The remarks are causing global controversy.
“I congratulate him on becoming the first head of state to speak out clearly on these issues and regret only that it was not a Western head of state,” Butz said. His comments were reprinted in Saturday’s Chicago Tribune.
This isn't a cut-and-dry free speech issue. When I was at NU I made a few attempts to contact Butz to speak about his crazy beliefs (I didn't use the word "crazy"). He told me that he couldn't, because he had a deal with NU that he wouldn't talk about his Holocaust research.
If he wasn't just blowing smoke at me, he made a huge mistake this week. I wouldn't be surprised if he's canned.|W|P|113937652877635377|W|P|"The new trend of David Weigel worship"|W|P|2/08/2006 01:00:00 PM|W|P|Tim|W|P|1) The Chronicle always sucked, but whereas it used to be the least-sucking paper on campus, this is no longer the case.
2) President Bienen's statement on Butz (the perks of being a staffer):
"Northwestern University Associate Professor Arthur Butz recently issued a statement commending Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s assertion that the Holocaust never happened. Butz is a Holocaust denier who has made similar assertions previously. His latest statement, like his earlier writings and pronouncements, is a contemptible insult to all decent and feeling people. While I hope everyone understands that Butz’s opinions are his own and in no way represent the views of the University or me personally, his reprehensible opinions on this issue are an embarrassment to Northwestern.
"There is no question that the Holocaust is a well-documented historical fact. The University has a professorship in Holocaust Studies endowed by the Holocaust Educational Foundation. Northwestern offers courses in Holocaust Studies and organizes conferences of academic scholars who teach in areas relating to the Holocaust. In addition, Northwestern hosts a summer Institute for Holocaust and Jewish Civilization. And most recently, a fellowship in the political science department has been established in my name by the Holocaust Educational Foundation. In short, Northwestern University has contributed significantly to the scholarly research of the Holocaust and remains committed to doing so.
"Butz is a tenured associate professor in electrical engineering. Like all faculty members, he is entitled to express his personal views, including on his personal web pages, as long as he does not represent such opinions as the views of the University. Butz has made clear that his opinions are his own and at no time has he discussed those views in class or made them part of his class curriculum. Therefore, we cannot take action based on the content of what Butz says regarding the Holocaust – however odious it may be – without undermining the vital principle of intellectual freedom that all academic institutions serve to protect."2/08/2006 01:02:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|1.) "The Chronicle has always sucked"
2.) Well, I guess Butz was blowing smoke when he told me the university had cut a deal with him and required he shut up about the Holocaust. It never made sense that a school could make a pact like that, anyway.2/07/2006 02:41:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I think it says something about our modern political divisions that the questions of Paul "Powerline guy #3" Mirengoff at a Democratic press conference are seen as utterly stupid on the left and star-in-the-heavens brilliant on the right.
Count me in the "stupid" category, if only by a little. Mirengoff basically restated Alberto Gonzales' party line on the authorization of force act, then apparently asked if Durbin would sponsor a resolution on the issue in the Senate. (It seems like he was saying that, but Durbin cut him off.) Durbin didn't acquit himself brilliantly, but as he left he conflated the names of Mirengoff's employers Powerline and Pajamas Media, and Mirengoff snapped back at him.
DURBIN: I'll check out Pajamaline, but I'm not familiar with your publication.
MIRENGOFF: Yeah. Dan Rather knows something about it.
Dan Rather? Um, ok. That would have been a great comeback 17 months ago.
There's a haughtiness about the Pajamas Media crowd that really puts me off. First Roger Simon talks as if his series of detective novels rocked the world off its axis, now this. I think I miss the days when the most famous blogger was a scary goth chick.
*I'm pretty sure I just made a pun on "power glutes." It's late.|W|P|113929869758230328|W|P|Power-gloats*|W|P|2/06/2006 11:34:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Deadlines, yee-haw.|W|P|113928687948699063|W|P|Arbeit me|W|P|2/05/2006 08:55:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Um, so "Brokeback Mountain" is now the highest-grossing Academy Award nominee, with $60 million after this weekend. In one or two days, it will pass "Cinderella Man" in overall ticket sales. The gay cowboy movie that cost $14 million and stars the guy from "A Knight's Tale." I should have bought stock in crow, because that shit is being eaten left and right these days.
Gosh, I hope "Crash" doesn't manage to win in an upset. See Ross Douthat on this, although I would add that the dialogue was almost as obvious and bad as that in the 9/11 episode of "The West Wing."
*shudder*|W|P|113919128157072338|W|P|Make it gay|W|P|2/05/2006 06:05:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The Economist's pro-Republican (note: not pro-right wing) tilt has been annoying me more and more lately. On the one hand, its editors note that the current incarnation of the Republican party is corrupt and incompetent enough to make Boss Tweed blush. On the other hand, they hate on Democrats like bullies on fat kids. For example, this article that paints this year's Washington Senate race, which fell from first- to second-tier when state GOP golden boy Dino Rossi turned it down, as a barn-burner.
Chris Vance, the party's combative state chairman, is working hard to depict Ms Cantwell as an “obstructionist”. He also berates her for eschewing outside campaign donations during her 2000 campaign, then quickly accepting them once in office.
Chris Vance quit the party chairmanship a month ago. He did so two months after the Washington GOP had its ass kicked in off-year elections, losing a winnable race for executive in King County (which contains Seattle) as voters voted down a tax cut initiative.
Memo to The Economist's American editors: I know you have a little riding on their success, but Republicans aren't doing very well right now. Democrats are winning elections.|W|P|113918119983363618|W|P|Dismal (political) science|W|P|2/06/2006 12:34:00 PM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|I can never get used to reading a magazine without bylines. It feels like they're hiding something.2/06/2006 06:42:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|It makes for some fun games of deduction, though - you follow industry hires, you look at media appearences by Economist editors, you can decode who the mysterious Economist writers are for a given piece.2/05/2006 03:35:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Because of the Great Cartoon War of 2006, Kanye West's Rolling Stone cover, where he poses as Jesus on his way to the cross, has garnered a whole bunch of attention from people making the same criticism. Instapundit:
IF KANYE WEST HAD BALLS, he'd pose as Mohammed, instead of Jesus. But he doesn't. Efforts to be controversial have become so predictable. Yawn.
Fred Barnes, on Fox News:
Look at the current issue of "Rolling Stone Magazine," it's a picture of Kanye West, the singer, with a crown of thorns and leaning over as if he's been crucified. Now this was not an expression of a strong faith in Christianity. I saw it and I was disgusted. On the other hand I did not want to run to the "Rolling Stone" office and shoot somebody, which is a basically a fascist response.
Liberal editors are a lot smarter than they look. If Rolling Stone had put Kanye West posing as Muhammad on the cover, they’d be in hiding, too. Instead, they chose the safer route: West, a rapper and contributor to the cultural toilet, posing with a crown of thorns on his head.
And so on.
What amazes me about this is that so many people opined on Kanye West without googling his name and "Jesus." They would have found this.
The single that broke Kanye West was "Jesus Walks," a catchy-as-hell, down-on-his-knees expression of his Christian faith. He won "Best Rap Song" at the 2005 Grammys for lyrics like this.
I ain't here to argue about his facial features
Or here to convert atheists into believers
I'm just tryin to say the way school need teachers
The way Kathy Lee needed Regis that's the way I need Jesus
So here go my single dawg radio needs this
They said you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, video tape
But if I talk about God my record won't get played huh
Well if this take away my from spins
Which will probably take away from my ends
Then I hope it take away from sins
It wasn't Jars of Clay or anything, but it was a hell of a thing to hear on radio. So when Rolling Stone was brainstorming ideas for their first West cover, the Christ motif probably didn't take long to crop up.
With that said, why this assumption that West's Christ portrait is offensive?
OK, there's the "Passion" joke, which is probably a joke at Mel Gibson's expense more than an equation between West's career and the sacrifice of the son of Man. Other than that, what's offensive about this? Is Kanye covered in urine or something? Is there something to make it clear this is a mockery of Christ? Not that I can see. Contrast that with the controversial Mohammed cartoons, which showed the prophet in a police line-up, wearing a bomb for a turban, and sadly telling terrorists that heaven has run out of virgins (among less controversial stuff). Contrast that again with the fact Islam doesn't allow potrayals of the prophet, but Christianity celebrates potrayals of Christ at pageants and movies like, uh, "The Passion."
So what's this all about? My humble guess is that Kanye West - whose lyrics are the most positive and least profane of any successful rapper since P.M. Dawn - made a lot of enemies on the right with his controversial "George Bush doesn't care about black people" remark. You know, the remark that 90% of blacks seemed to agree with, if you listen to polls or election results. So they didn't even stop to think about context. They assumed West was mocking Christ because, well, he's such a nasty young lefty, isn't he?
And my fellow Christians fall over themselves to sound like idiots, again! Way to go, guys.|W|P|113912880244729165|W|P|Jesus Balks|W|P|2/05/2006 02:11:00 PM|W|P|CC|W|P|Good work on this post Dave. It was excellent.2/06/2006 12:50:00 PM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|Oh, come on. That cover is equating West's self-made position as a focal point of controversy and criticism with the suffering of Jesus. The implication seems to be that West is suffering for his holiness, even that "George Bush hates black people" is the equivalent of the sermon on the mount. I don't think it's that complicated to see why this might be offensive to some people. And offensive or not, it's pretentious as hell.2/06/2006 01:51:00 PM|W|P|kchiker|W|P|There are elements of Christianity that would find ANY depiction of a black Christ to be offensive.
I'm actually suprised there isn't actually more invective expressed against the Rolling Stone cover. But then again, Pat Robertson only recently revealed to the world God's use of a stroke in an apparently new fatah on peacemakers.2/06/2006 06:39:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|John - I really don't get that from the context or the story, although the picture inside the magazine has West dressed up like Muhammad Ali, so that implies he's playing with his outspoken image. Anyway, let's say he IS dressing up like Jesus to make the point he's a martyr. How does that make the "if he had guts he'd dress like Muhammad" comments intelligible? There would be no analogy to draw there, outside of, maybe "I'm a prophet." And how many readers would see West in a turban and beard and think "aha, he's the prophet Muhammad?" Not many.
The main point is that West has a history of Christ references in his music, and the people attacking him were too lazy to check it out.2/06/2006 09:41:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous|W|P|CUT AND PAST NOT HIS WORK!2/07/2006 09:54:00 AM|W|P|Pat "Souljacker" King|W|P|I kind of agree with both John and Dave on this one... It does strike me as more of an "I'm a martyr/Christ figure," which does seem pretty stupid to me. The excerpt RS has online seems to follow that train of thought, focusing on his outspokenness and pride, and how much trouble that's getting him into. Even so, since when did this become shocking posturing for a rap musician?
That said, I'm with Dave on the commentators' Mohammed references being unintelligible, especially given the persecution thing. What pisses me off most about the commentary is that these people did NOTHING for all those years when Creed was making music that essentially was about how much Scott Stapp was like Jesus. Maybe Christ comparisons are only offensive when the offender is (a) black, or (b) capable of making good music.3/03/2006 01:13:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous|W|P|jesus walks.jesus rules nobody bags out jesus he died for u but wat do u do bag him.god will always be there for u no matter and always help u i no hes real. if kanye wants to talk bout jesus go ahead dont bag him.wat did a tree ever do for u huh3/03/2006 01:15:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous|W|P|hello3/07/2006 04:44:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous|W|P|would u all shut up u guys suck
p.s jesus is king 4ever yer!!2/04/2006 12:18:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Hrm, I could have sworn I had a post up for Friday. No? Well, here's book #4 for the year.
Marching Through Georgia
by S.M. Stirling
Most alternate history stories start with a huge event, a battle or a famous person's assassination, going the wrong way. In S.M. Stirling's opus, history changed because ... the Dutch entered the British-American war in 1779. Seizing the opportunity to seize more wealthy territories, the British eventually give up on their North American territories and grab the good parts of the Dutch empire. American Tories can't flee north anymore, so they go to the Cape colony in South Africa. The British name their colony "Drakesland," and it becomes a dumping ground for losing sides in the next hundred years of civil and colonial wars. Since many of those new citizens - Tories, Confederates - were slaveholders, the slave system endures and prospers in an empire that eventually takes over all of Africa. By World War I, there are 20 million of them and 180 million "serfs," and they enter the War to seize the Ottoman Empire. World War II begins with a drastically different menu of world powers. To everyone's surprise, the Draka (as the people from Drakesland came to be called after 160 years) enter the war on the side of Britain and the US. "Marching to Georgia" concerns the fate of the lead Draka army in the Caucausus, as it attempts to ambush and grind down Nazi forces on the road to Stalingrad.
If I haven't made it clear enough, this is a weird book. Stirling loves his alternate history and provides 50 pages of footnotes and maps explaining how it all works, but his narrative is more or less a straight military story, with some chapters flashing back to how the main characters met before the Draka entered the war in 1942. The chapters tracing our heroes' march to Stalingrad are great, but they're pretty straight-up military writing. Lots of grit, lots of throwing of grenades, lots of cursing. It comes to life when our narration gets handed to a Nazi soldier, and you realize that the Draka are so bad, these guys are the heroes.
Stirling wrote three more books about his "Draka" universe. The next, "Under the Yoke," is about life in a post-WWII French territory being turned into a plantation. The third, "The Stone Dogs," is about a nuclear war between the US and the Draka. The final, "Drakon," is a kind of alternate history version of this alternate history and I don't think I'll read it.|W|P|113907507704820050|W|P|Bookery|W|P|2/02/2006 01:40:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I won't link to everyone who's whinging about Tom Toles, but is this E&P blurb representive?
The Toles cartoon shows a soldier, a quadruple amputee, in a hospital, being visited by a Dr. Rumsfeld who is scribbling on a form. Rumsfeld says, "I am listing your condition as battle hardened." At the bottom a smaller figure of the doctor adds, "I'm prescribing that you be stretched thin. We don't define that as torture."
No, the amputee isn't a soldier. He's a representation of The Army. Check out the medical chart at the bottom of the bed. It says "U.S. Army," and it has a line graph in steady decline. Medical charts are not line graphs. It's supposed to represent overall "decline" in the army - recruitment, morale, whatever.
How many of the people shitting bricks about this cartoon don't get the (arguably clumsy) satire?|W|P|113890587025680685|W|P|It Toles for thee|W|P|2/04/2006 02:14:00 AM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|Well, the amputee is a soldier; even if he's meant to represent the Army, it's the Army represented by a amputee soldier. The Joint Chiefs (.pdf here) definitely got it, and were still offended anyway:
Editorial cartoons are often designed to exaggerate issues -- and your paper is obviously free to address any topic, including the state of readiness of today's Armed Forces. However we believe you and Mr. Toles have done a disservice to your readers and your paper's reputation by using such a callous depiction of those who have volunteered to defend this nation, and as a result, have suffered traumatic and life-altering wounds.2/04/2006 12:29:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Yeah, but why can't the people fretting about this SAY that? I watched a bunch of segments where talking heads weighed in on how "Rumsfeld is talking to this crippled soldier." That's only part of the satire.
As to the Joint Chiefs - I'm honestly a little tired of the military taking the heat for the civilian leadership. Toles' cartoon is about Rumsfeld being callous and stupid with our soldiers, refusing to admit mistakes and brushing off criticism with rhetorical bullshit. He was asked to corraborate reports and speculation that the military was strained in Iraq, and he said no, they're "battle-hardened." Toles is taking the side of the soldiers in that question. He wrote the cartoon thinking "I think Rumsfeld is a dick, and our soldiers are being overworked and mangled over there." He is not mocking the troops - he is not being callous. And then the JCs and the military experts on Fox and CNN hit the circuit to pronounce Toles a troop-hating asshole who thinks war wounds are funny.2/02/2006 12:48:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Two links.
- More prominent/funny blogs have already linked to this, but perhaps you've missed it. I present: "Brokeback to the Future."
- Somebody, please give Marlee Matlin another job.|W|P|113890260476319202|W|P|Hooray for Hollywood|W|P|2/02/2006 12:52:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Damn it, who tipped these guys off to my Valentine's Day plans?|W|P|113885960367143663|W|P|Pure and easy|W|P|2/02/2006 07:41:00 AM|W|P|dbomp|W|P|That link has further links for "Partners" and "Participants", but alas, they didn't mean what I'd hoped.2/01/2006 06:02:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Two more books last week.
Where the Right Went Wrong
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Lackluster insta-book with some compelling stuff about the terrifying loonyward lurch of the GOP, padded at a 2-1 ratio by the same history and WWII anecdotes Buchanan writes about all the time.
Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal
by Ian Christe
Sort of rote history of the genre, with mostly unrevealing interviews of the heroes (Rob Halford, Dave Mustaine, etc). The best bits, on third world and European metal, are very good, but I found the history of American metal sort of predictable.|W|P|113883525442467214|W|P|Book 'em|W|P|